Actress And Activist Tessa de Josselin On How We Can Help Save The Planet

by: Rosie Dalton | 1 month ago | Features

 

Tessa de Josselin is an incredibly talented actress – you might know her from her roles in Holding the Man, Home and Away, or Dead Lucky. But she is also passionate about protecting the planet – and believes that we can all help do this in our day-to-day lives.

Having just launched The Nature Between Us podcast earlier this year, Tessa’s main schtick as an environmental activist is all about demystifying complex environmental issues. So we asked her to share some of the simple steps that she personally takes to help save the planet.

 


Rosie Dalton: You are an actress by day, but when did you first develop an interest in environmental protection?
Tessa de Josselin:
I am, yes! I guess I started caring about ‘protecting’ the environment in my teenage years… before that I was just blissfully enjoying it for all it’s magic. Retrospectively, it’s quite a privilege to have had a childhood free from climate change anxiety.

I grew up along the coast on Garigal country (Narrabeen) so the ocean, marine life and surfing were an integral part of my childhood. The beach was my backyard and I maybe had a heightened sense of ownership over its preservation because of that. As a kid, seeing trash on the beach would really annoy me – especially through summer, when there were lots of visitors. I’d be surfing twice a day and picking up trash every time I ran up the dunes just thinking “euuugh how can people be so careless?!”. That was certainly a turning point for me.

Then, when I finished high school, I did an undergraduate degree in Geosciences/ Sustainability and I realised the many ways in which we are harming our environment – beyond just what you find washed up on the beach. It was incredibly eye opening and really cemented in me a deep sense of responsibility and the need for protection.

Can you tell us a bit about The Nature Between Us podcast?
Sure! The Nature Between Us is a new podcast that aims to demystify environmental issues, find solutions and appreciate our natural world. It’s as much about unpacking big topics like climate change as it is about delving into our innate human dependence with natural things. Sometimes it’s philosophical, sometimes it’s scientific. But ultimately it’s me, in conversation with really interesting people who are working towards a more sustainable future. Each episode has a new topic and a new guest. Ranging from waste experts to climate lawyers, filmmakers, national park managers, city councillors, social researchers, meteorologists, climate playwrights, Indigenous urban designers, permaculture experts and so on.


What inspired you to launch this project?
I’m incredibly curious about environmental issues and what can be done, so in a way I started this project for myself. But, more broadly, I sensed a disconnect between people who wanted to know more but didn’t have an easy place to start. And I figured, well hey, let’s try to bridge that gap. So I reached out to people I wanted to learn more from and who I thought would have good insight. I’m also halfway through a Masters of Environment and Climate Emergency, which I absolutely love, but online study can be somewhat isolating. So, in a way, the podcast has become my creative way of processing and deepening my studies. It’s the perfect antidote to environmental anxiety – I’m learning more, engaging in interesting conversations and then sharing that knowledge with a wider audience who might be feeling the same. If people tune in, I’d love to hear from them!

Why do you think our readers should tune in?
Because it’s fun, easy to listen to and accessible for those just simply wanting to know more about these big issues that we hear so much about. Each episode has a new guest and you’ll hear a mix of cool stories, interesting facts, and ways that everyone can make a difference :)

Why do you think it is so important to demystify complex environmental issues, in ways that actually make sense in an everyday context?
I think demystifying these big and complex issues is the first step to making them more relatable, personal and accessible. It’s a cliché, but knowledge really is so powerful. I personally find it hard to actively engage in big topics unless I really understand what’s going on. Having lofty general ideas and opinions can dilute the urgency and solutions in a way. Especially when it comes to issues like climate change – which have become so politicised. It can feel like we have no seat at the table and zero influence on the situation. But, when you break it down, we actually do! I realise that it’s hard work digesting big chunks of information. And sometimes engaging with environmental issues can feel like a chore. But that’s my aim with The Nature Between Us – to do the hard work and make it easier for listeners to follow along.


What are some steps that you personally take in your everyday life to help save the planet?
My actions have slowly built up over time. It started with being mindful of consumption habits. Saying no to single use plastic and eating less/no meat were the first steps. Then over time – and with a better understanding of the many nuanced impacts we have – I’ve made bigger changes. The most rewarding being when I divested my savings.

‘Divesting’ is a term we hear thrown around a lot and it’s basically when you move your savings or super into a fund/bank that doesn't invest in the nasty stuff (like fossil fuels). It’s a powerful way to support the end of fossil fuels and felt quite cathartic for me. Market Forces is a great website resource to get a better gauge on where your institution is at.

Other steps have been to acknowledge that I actually don't need much. Each year I try to buy less stuff, mend what I already have, grow a new herb and engage in the land of secondhand. It’s fun figuring out new ways to reuse an item before chucking it. In terms of clothes and fashion, I’m a huge fan of op shops and flea markets. In part because of the price tag, but also because of that ‘treasure hunt’ feeling. If I buy new, I’ll support sustainable labels and platforms that take the hard work out of knowing what’s ethical – like WMC!

 

 

 

To learn more about Tessa and how you can help save the planet, tune into The Nature Between Us

 

 

Images via Tessa de Josselin

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